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The ARRL Letter
July 19, 2018
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ARRL Website, Some Services to be Down Briefly on July 25: The ARRL website and some services will be down for maintenance for up to 1 hour on Wednesday, July 25, starting at approximately 0900 UTC. During this period some or all systems may be temporarily inaccessible. This affects all content on www.arrl.org (including the ARRL Store), http://contest-clubs.arrl.org, and http://contest-log-submission.arrl.org. Logbook of The World and email will not be affected. We apologize for any inconvenience.


WRTC 2018: Amazing Contact Totals, Scores Despite Poor Conditions

A crack team of contesters from Lithuania won the gold medal in World Radiosport Team Championship 2018 (WRTC 2018), held over the weekend in Germany. Operating as Y81N, Gedas Lucinskas, LY9A, and Mindis Jukna, LY4L, topped the real-time scoreboard for much of the event, which is held as a competition within a contest, in conjunction with the IARU HF Championship. Lucinskas and Jukna had ended up in sixth place during WRTC 2014, held in New England. In WRTC 2018 they posted a final score of 5,690,685 points, logging 5,139 contacts, with a heavy emphasis on CW. Final results for all competing teams have been posted on the WRTC 2018 website.

We are the champions! The second-place team of Stefan von Baltz, DL1IAO, and Manfred Wolf, DJ5MW (left), and the third-place team of Dan Craig, N6MJ, and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A, flank gold medalists Gedas Lucinskas, LY9A, and Mindis Jukna, LY4L. [WRTC 2018 photo]

Despite conditions during the weekend that were no better than mediocre, the 63 competing teams logged a total of 262,746 contacts during the 24-hour competition.

Taking second place to the pleasure of the German sponsors was the Y81A team of Manfred Wolf, DJ5MW, and Stefan von Baltz, DL1IAO, with 5,273,488 points, with 4,936 contacts, a majority on CW. They placed third in a nail-biting finale for the bronze at WRTC 2014. The mostly German audience gave Wolf and Baltz a huge ovation at the WRTC 2018 awards ceremony.

In the third spot this time around was the WRTC 2014 defending champion team of Dan Craig, N6MJ, and Chris Hurlbut, KL9A, who operated as Y82V, and racked up a final tally of 4,891,710 points, heavily weighted toward CW.

The WRTC 2014 second-place team of Rastislav Hrnko, OM3BH, and Jozef Lang, OM3GI, from the Slovak Republic landed in 10th place at WRTC 2018.

The father-son Y87B team of Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and Patrick Briggs, KK6ZM, won the SSB Leader Award. [Roberto Ramirez, CE3CT, photo]

This year's first-place team scored nearly 1.5 million fewer points but 567 more contacts than the WRTC 2014 first-place team of N6MJ and KL9A.

The WRTC 2018 Live Scoreboard transformed the event from an isolated radio competition into a sporting event that could be followed online around the world. Although Live Scoreboard viewers knew where things stood among the 63 teams, the competitors had no clue until the event concluded.

Determining the final results of WRTC 2018 involved an extensive log-checking process, based in part on comparisons between IARU HF Contest logs submitted to WRTC 2018 for that purpose. Randy Thompson, K5ZD, reported at the July 16 closing ceremony that the evaluation committee received 3,500 logs within 16 hours of the event's end for auditing competitors' logs.

The father-son Y87B team of Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and Patrick Briggs, KK6ZM, won the SSB Leader Award. The CW leaders, operating as Y83O, were Tonno Vahk, ES5TV, and Toivo Hallikivi, ES2RR, of Estonia. Vahk and Hallikivi also were the WRTC 2018 multiplier leaders.

Claiming the award for the most accurate log -- which was said to be very close -- was the Y86V team of Leo Slavov, OR2F, and Pascal Lierman, ON5RA, of Belgium. They made 39 logging errors out of 3,052 contacts (1.28%).

Youth Team Award winners were Alexandru Mancas, YO8TTT, and Leo Kharchenko, UT5GW, who landed in 14th place overall. There were three youth teams for competitors aged 25 or younger. The youngest WRTC 2018 competitor was 14-year-old Bryant Rascoll, KG5HVO, who paired with 22-year-old Y83Z Team Leader Mathias Acevedo, CE2LR.

Jannsen said he's looking forward to WRTC 2022, which will take place in Bologna, Italy, as announced at the closing ceremony.

ARRL Announces Two Career Opportunities

ARRL has announced career opportunities for a Business Services Manager and a Senior Lab Engineer -- EMC/RFI Specialist at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut.

The Business Services Manager reports to the Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for the marketing and sale strategies of print and digital advertising along with wholesale book revenues. Responsibilities include relationship management with all clients, sales analysis -- including internal and market trends and management functions such as forecasting, budget preparation -- and staff management.

Candidates should hold a bachelor's degree and have 3 or more years of in-depth industry- and job-specific and supervisory experience. Applicants should possess excellent interpersonal skills, strong written and oral communication skills, a high level of sales and marketing expertise in print and digital media, and extensive knowledge of Amateur Radio.

The Senior Lab Engineer -- EMC/RFI Specialist reports to the Lab Manager, and plans and performs a wide range of technical duties in support of ARRL objectives with respect to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and radio frequency interference (RFI) in the Amateur Radio Service. Candidates must hold an Amateur Radio license. This individual will work with ARRL members and others in the Amateur Radio community to resolve EMC/RFI problems, and will maintain a database of member contact regarding specific EMC/RFI cases. The Senior Lab Engineer -- EMC/RFI Specialist will work with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff and with industry and standards development organizations in the course of resolving and preventing EMC/RFI problems, as well as identify devices with significant RFI potential, test the devices, and draft detailed reports on their performance.

The applicant should hold a bachelor's degree in electronics or have 3 - 5 years of relevant experience. Ideal candidates will have experience in the EMC/RFI field with an emphasis on Amateur Radio.

Detailed descriptions of the job requirements for both position are on the ARRL Employment Opportunities page.

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Enjoy "ARRL The Doctor is In" on Apple iTunes, or by using your iPhone or iPad podcast app (just search for "ARRL The Doctor is In"). You can also listen online at Blubrry, or at Stitcher (free registration required, or browse the site as a guest) and through the free Stitcher app for iOS, Kindle, or Android devices. If you've never listened to a podcast before, download our beginner's guide.

ARRL Represented at IEEE Symposium

ARRL was on hand in Boston July 8 - 13 for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Antenna and Propagation Society (AP-S) Symposium, held jointly held with the US National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI). The ARRL exhibit included an Amateur Radio special event demonstration station, N1P, and more than a dozen volunteers staffed the ARRL exhibit.

"We had a very attractive booth in a great location," said ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Manager Phil Temples, K9HI. "Engineers in the antenna and propagation fields in industry and science attending from all over the world stopped by the ARRL table to see and learn about Amateur Radio."

Temples said ARRL Headquarters provided supplies for the booth as well as display copies of publications, "which doubled as door prizes for drawings," he added. Complementing volunteers from the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section were radio amateurs attending the conference who donated their time between talks and seminars to assist with the booth and greet fellow attendees.

"It was clear to me that our presence at the symposium meant a great deal to the IEEE AP-S/URSI leadership," Temples said. "It's difficult to have a 'live' Amateur Radio station in an exhibit area of a major hotel, so we were indeed fortunate to have access to one of the premiere contesting stations in New England through a remote internet HF setup, courtesy of Yankee Clipper Contest Club member Greg Cronin, W1KM." Temples said YCCC president Dennis Egan, W1UE, supplied an Elecraft K3 to use on site.

Robert Paknys, VE2JBP/W1, checks out 20-meter SSB from special event station N1P at the 2018 IEEE AP-S Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts.

In addition, Temples recounted that ARRL Volunteer Examiners were able to conduct separate Amateur Radio licensing exam sessions over 2 days at the conference, thanks to the efforts of the Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Group and Lou Harris, N1UEC. More than a dozen attendees took advantage.

"The IEEE AP-S/URSI hams who will organize next year's event hope to secure the call sign N4P and recruit local volunteers when the symposium moves to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2019," Temples said. He expressed gratitude to Dave Michelson, VA7DM, an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia and who chairs the IEEE's AP-S/URSI Joint Meetings Committee, for his help in coordinating the Amateur Radio display. "Thanks also go to San Diego Section Manager Dave Kaltenborn, N8KBC, and Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, who advised us following the 2017 ham radio effort."

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RadioShack "Express Stores" to Open in HobbyTown USA Locations

According to a July 13 article in the New York Post, RadioShack is planning to open "express stores" within HobbyTown USA locations. The nearly century-old, twice-bankrupt retailer has signed a deal with HobbyTown USA to put a mini RadioShack outlet in some 50 HobbyTown USA stores across the country that would sell items that might appeal to radio amateurs and experimenters. Those locations will be identified with RadioShack signage. HobbyTown markets remote-controlled cars and boats as well as drones and other hobby-related merchandise.

RadioShack shuttered all of its company-owned retail outlets. Its last unsuccessful effort to bail itself out of debt involved a deal with cellular provider Sprint. HobbyTown USA has 140 retail outlets, and, according to the Post article, RadioShack eventually could carve out a presence -- on the order of 500 square feet -- in all of them. Stores in HobbyTown USA's headquarters town of Lincoln, Nebraska, as well as in Parker, Colorado, and Mooresville, North Carolina, will be among the first to host RadioShack express concessions.

"HobbyTown is purchasing the RadioShack merchandise and offering it to its hobbyist customers who need the tools, wires, and other accessories that RadioShack makes," the Post article said.

The article quoted Steve Moroneso, chief executive of General Wireless Operations Inc. -- an affiliate of hedge fund Standard General, which acquired RadioShack in 2015 -- as saying that RadioShack's strategy now is not to own brick-and-mortar stores. RadioShack came out of bankruptcy in January with 400 dealers, an online retail presence, and a distribution center. General Wireless acquired the 1,743 retail outlets that survived RadioShack's 2015 bankruptcy.

Moroneso also told the Post that there is "plenty of interest from dealers who want to open a full-line Radio Shack." Read more.

BIRDS-2 Constellation CubeSats Transported to ISS for August Deployment

The second generation of CubeSats in the BIRDS constellation now is on board the International Space Station (ISS) and set for deployment in early August using the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) module's remote manipulator arm. The June 29 SpaceX Falcon 9 launch carried the BIRDS-2 CubeSats -- MAYA-1, BHUTAN-1, and UiTMSAT-1, built by students from Malaysia, Bhutan, and the Philippines at the hosting Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. All CubeSats have identical designs and utilize the same frequencies. While independently made, operation and control of the three CubeSats will be shared by three teams after the spacecraft are released into space. All three CubeSats will transmit a CW beacon on 437.375 MHz. They will be operational for 6 months.

"The three will form a constellation, orbiting the Earth from different places. This will provide the countries more opportunities to make measurements and run experiments than just with using one CubeSat," explained Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., manager of the PHL-Microsat program in the Philippines. The primary mission of BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation is to provide digital message relay service to the Amateur Radio community by means of an onboard APRS digipeater on a frequency of 145.825 MHz.

Another mission of the BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation is to demonstrate a store-and-forward system, investigating technical challenges through experiments on appropriate data format, multiple access scheme, and file-handling protocol while complying with limited operational time and power constraints.

The BIRDS-2 CubeSat store-and-forward system will collect data from remote ground sensors, store it on board, and download it to the BIRDS-2 ground station network, begun last year during the BIRDS-1 CubeSat constellation project.

The CubeSats will carry two identical cameras with different lenses to capture images with varying resolution. The cameras will also be used to capture a minimum-resolution video from space for experimental purpose.

The CubeSats will also carry magnetic field sensors to measure the magnetic field in space and compare it with that measured on ground.

Additional experiments will use the BIRDS-2 CubeSat constellation to enhance research and experiment in single latch-up event detection, magnetic field measurements, and flight testing of a newly designed GPS chip to demonstrate its low-power operation capabilities in space. Students will also explore a passive attitude stabilization mechanism. All measurements and image data will be made available on the BIRDS-2 project website. -- Thanks to AMSAT News Service

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Final Preparations Under Way for Youth on the Air 2018 in South Africa

There are just weeks to go until the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) international event, YOTA South Africa 2018, gets under way. The South African Amateur Radio League (SARL) is hosting the event. A summertime gathering in the past, YOTA South Africa 2018 will take place during the Southern Hemisphere winter. The YOTA Events Team is wrapping up preparations for the 7-day program, August 8 - 15 in South Africa's Gauteng region. Some 80 young radio amateurs -- including 13-year-old Faith Hannah Lea, AE4FH, of Florida -- are expected to attend and operate the ZS9YOTA special event station while there.

Last August, 80 young people attended YOTA Summer Camp in England, sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). Two young radio amateurs from the US attended the 2016 YOTA Summer Camp in Austria.

"This week creates, in addition to Amateur Radio, the opportunity to learn all about different nationalities and cultures, foster international friendships and goodwill as well as learning new communication and technical skills," IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, said in a statement.

Leenders said this year's camp will mark the first YOTA event focusing on a "train-the-trainer" principle, with participants learning tips and techniques to start their own youth activities or programs when they return home. "With this [approach], we will reach a bigger audience on national and local level, which makes it happen that more young people and newcomers can be involved in Amateur Radio," she said.

YOTA South Africa 2018 will offer participating radio amateurs opportunities to learn more about Amateur Radio, get acquainted with fellow amateurs from other parts of the world, and have a lot of fun with Amateur Radio-related and social activities during the week-long camp.

SARL President Nico van Rensburg, ZS6QL, promised that participants would be greeted "with a traditional South African welcome." He said campers can expect "a mild winter with sun-filled days" with daytime temperatures in the mid-60s. He called YOTA South Africa 2018 a "pseudo-summer camp."

Highlights planned for the week include learning about software-defined radio (SDR) technology, building a mini CubeSat, and experience launching and tracking it into near space on a high-altitude balloon. They also will learn about Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) -- essentially Amateur Radio on the move -- and they will build a QRP HF transceiver kit.

Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, Appointed General Chairman for Hamvention 2019

The Dayton Amateur Radio Board of Directors has appointed ARRL Life Member Jack Gerbs, WB8SCT, of Springboro, Ohio, as the General Chairman for Hamvention® 2019. Gerbs, 58, who served as Assistant General Chairman for the 2017 and 2018 Hamventions, succeeds Ron Cramer, KD8ENJ, who served in the post for the 2017 and 2018 shows.

"Jack worked very closely with me the last 2 years and is very familiar with all aspects of Hamvention," Cramer said. "He was a big help during the move and is well prepared to continue making Hamvention better each year."

Gerbs, who has been licensed since 1974 and works in the IT industry, thanked Cramer for helping him prepare for the position. "Ron kept me well informed and included in all the major decisions while adapting to Hamvention's new home. I look forward to building on the solid foundation he set," he said.

Cramer, who was elected as DARA's president in June, said he'll be available to help in any way that he can. Gerbs' first official act was to select Rick Allnutt, WS8G, as his Assistant General Chairman. Allnutt served on the Hamvention Awards Committee for several years and was International Relations Chair for 2018. He said he's looking forward to working with Gerbs and the entire Hamvention team.

Most 2018 committee chairs have agreed to remain for the 2019 show, Gerbs said, adding that having an experienced team makes his job as General Chairman easier and should provide visitors with an even better Hamvention 2019.

Gerbs and Cramer noted that Hamvention would not be possible without the more than 700 volunteers who put in many hours to make Hamvention 2018 the success that it was.

Hamvention 2019 will take place May 17 - 19 at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Xenia, Ohio.

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US ARDF Champions Prepare for International Competition in Korea

Results of the 18th USA National Championships of Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) are now in the record books. Some of those who took part in that event now are hoping to win positions on ARDF Team USA, which will travel to Sokcho, Korea, in early September for the 19th ARDF World Championships. IARU rules limit national teams to three persons per age/gender category.

This year's USA National Championships took place near the ski resort town of Truckee, California. Events included foxoring, a combination of ARDF and classic orienteering on 80 meters; 80-meter sprint, and classic 2-meter and 80-meter ARDF competitions. Fourteen US-eligible competitors in the four events took home first-place awards.

Veteran ARDFer Bob Cooley, KF6VSE, set the competitive courses at Little Truckee Summit, a well-mapped area in the mountains north of Truckee at 6,300 feet of elevation. Meet Director Jay Hennigan, WB6RDV, was responsible for starting-line operations, medals, and many other details.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) establishes ARDF championship rules. For scoring and awards, participants are divided into 11 age/gender categories. Most categories for males over age 40 and females over age 60 already have a full slate of Team USA candidates for the world competition in Korea, although uncontested openings exist for females and younger males, so it is possible for inexperienced radio-orienteers in these ranges to join the US team, ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, explained. Contact Moell, if interested -- do not contact the Korean organizers directly.

The Homing In website carries the latest information about upcoming ARDF activities. Read more. -- Thanks to ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV

In Brief...

The ARRL Board of Directors will meet Friday and Saturday, July 20 - 21, in Connecticut for its second meeting of the year. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, will preside. The Board will hear reports from the general counsel, officers, and committees. Representatives of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) have been invited to attend the July Board meeting.

The ARRL Logs Received page has gotten a new home and a facelift. "This is the first step toward a new ARRL Contests Landing Page for post-event contest information," ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said. "We'll have more to say about this in the coming weeks." Jahnke said Field Day web app submissions are being posted every few days at the bottom of the Logs Received page (this file is updated manually). Hard copy and emailed submissions will appear the week of July 23, allowing participants until the end of July to review. The ARRL Contest Branch also announced that some contest award certificates now are available for download from the ARRL website in PDF and JPEG formats. Just enter the call sign. Currently available certificates are for the 2017 IARU HF Championship, the 2017 ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest, and the 2017 ARRL September VHF Contest. "Future certificates for more current events, as well as past events going back well over a decade, will be made available in the next few weeks," Jahnke said.

A team of young radio amateurs will be on the air from Market Reef Lighthouse this month and next. The group will operate as OJ0C from July 21 until July 28, and again from August 18 until August 25. The lighthouse is near sea level, and waves have been known to cover the entire reef. The Finnish Lighthouse Society (FLS) and the Amateur Radio League of Finland (SRAL) in conjunction with OH-DX-Foundation (OHDXF) and DX University (DXU) have organized the first-ever International Youth at Sea (IYAS) cultural exchange-based radio activity, which could become a regular annual event. The 2018 youth team members are Nuuti, OH1UBO; Elias, OH2EP; Otava, OH3OT; Mikael, OH3UAF; Pieter, ON3DI; Florian, OE3FTA, and Ilie, YO3IMD -- all 16 to 25 years old. The young operators will be participating in daily workshops of safety and survival at sea in the remote lighthouse. In addition, they will become familiar with the latest digital modes and, most important, learning how to operate the radio efficiently -- providing OJ0C contacts and handling pileups. QSL OJ0C via OH3JR.

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Three weeks of blank sun! A few weeks ago, I thought sunspots would return by now, based on solar flux predictions. Forecasts from less than 2 weeks ago were predicting solar flux of 80 for July 17-19; higher flux values seem to correlate with increased sunspot activity, but since the July 7 forecast, predicted flux values have been well below 80.

Average daily solar flux barely changed, from 71.5 to 71.8. Average daily planetary A index declined from 7.3 to 6.4, while average daily middle latitude A index dipped from 7.9 to 6.1.

The July 18 prediction shows predicted solar flux at 70 on July 19-25; 68 on July 26 - August 1; 70 on August 2; 72 on August 3-18; 70 on August 19; 68 on August 20-28; 70 on August 29, and 72 on August 30 - September 1.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 19; 15, 8, 12, 20, and 8 on July 20-24; 5 on July 25 - August 5; 8 on August 6; 5 on August 7-11; 8 on August 12; 5 on August 13-15; 16, 8, 10, 18, and 8 on August 16-20, and 5 on August 21 - September 1.

Sunspot numbers for July 12-18 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 72.1, 72.5, 72.3, 71.7, 71.9, 71.2, and 71.2, with a mean of 71.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 6, 5, 4, 9, 9, and 4, with a mean of 6.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 6, 4, 4, 8, 9, and 4, with a mean of 6.1.

Friday's bulletin will include some remarks from solar observer Tamitha Skov, who told me we are facing 3 more weeks of a spotless sun.

Send me your reports or propagation observations.


Just Ahead in Radiosport
  • July 21 -- Feld Hell Sprint

  • July 21 -- SA Sprint Contest (CW, phone)

  • July 21 -- Jakarta DX Contest 40-Meters (phone)

  • July 21 -- Russian Radio Team Championship (CW, phone)

  • July 21 -- Trans-Tasman Low-Bands Challenge (CW, phone)

  • July 21-22 -- DMC RTTY Contest

  • July 21-22 -- North American QSO Party (RTTY)

  • July 21-22 -- CQ World Wide VHF Contest (CW, phone, digital)

  • July 22 -- RSGB Low Power Contest (CW)

  • July 22 -- CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush (CW)

  • July 25 -- SKCC Sprint (CW)

  • July 26 -- RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (digital)

See the ARRL Contest Calendar for more information. For in-depth reporting on Amateur Radio contesting, subscribe to The ARRL Contest Update via your ARRL member profile email preferences.


Upcoming ARRL Section, State, and Division Conventions

Find conventions and hamfests in your area.


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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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